Who wants to be a teacher?

Year: 2016

Author: Clinton, Janet, Anderson, Melody, McLean Davies, Larissa, Smyth, Kerry, Dawson, Georgia, Angelico, Teresa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

We know that the characteristics of a teacher and the quality of students’ learning (Notar, Riley, Taylor, Thornburg & Cargill 2009) are related. For example, we know that teachers who care about their students’ academic achievements, those who are willing to exert the effort needed to ensure the classroom is a productive learning environment, are the teachers that we want teaching yet these characteristics may not always be measured on selection. While understanding the whole candidate when making selections for entry into a teacher preparation program seems logical, we do not often do it. Current methods of selection only consider GPA and perhaps perceptions from an interview. The report from the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group outlined a range of recommendations including several specific to the selection of candidates into teaching programs. This included selection on the basis of broader factors than ATAR or previous course GPA. The University of Melbourne has developed TCAT (Teacher Capability and Assessment Tool), a comprehensive process that provides a more generous view of applicants to teaching including motivations, experience, cognitive ability, aspects of self and communication skills. TCAT is used for entry into all teaching programs at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and in other institutions locally and globally. The outcomes of TCAT have extended well beyond the selection process, permeating into teaching programs as a development support. Further the richness of the information has allowed for a much greater understanding of the cohort including their strengths and potential challenges.This presentation will present a range of findings about who our teaching candidates are from the rich data collected as part of the selection process in TCAT. It will answer questions such as: What motivates our candidates to teach? What experience do they bring with them? What do they believe effective teaching is? What are their cognitive reasoning skills? How resilient are they? Further, the presentation will discuss ways in which this data can be integrated and leveraged in a teacher education program and the benefit this knowledge and information brings at an individual and program level. The overall objective is to demonstrate the power of understanding our teacher candidates and their needs as they progress as professionals in their careers.